The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Rocking A T-Shirt

_MG_7494Yesterday I drove by a new home that was just listed in my neighborhood. I had a potential buyer who I thought may be interested in this new listing. I had just come from dropping of my son at a friend’s house nearby. Just prior to that I was out in my yard trimming one of my oak trees. I was a mess. Sawdust in my hair, wearing an old t-shirt and some athletic shorts. I was a sight to behold. As I drove up on the home I noticed that there was another agent who was just finishing up a showing with some clients. I could not tell the difference between the agent and the clients. I am sure he thought the same of me as I walked up the driveway looking as I did.

This home was an appointment only showing. I had just happened by at the end of his appointment. While he was in showing the home I called the listing agent to see if it would be okay for me to view the property as well. I did not get a response. I decided to go speak to the agent who was leaving. He looked at me, then glanced at my car. He saw the magnet on the side of my vehicle that said Realtor. When I approached him, I asked if the owners were home or not. Had they been home I would have not gone in until I spoke with the listing agent.

I introduced myself and explained that I was an agent previewing the home for a buyer. After exchanging pleasantries he apologized to me for how he was dressed. I thought that this was hysterical given the fact that I looked like I did. We laughed and exchanged cards. What struck me about this conversation was the fact that even though we were both looking a little worse for the wear and dressed in what would be considered a little too casual attire, we communicated professionally. The two of us were looking like landscaping staff, yet our conversation sounded like it could have been taking place in a conference room at a closing.

They were not home. I immediately submitted a showing request on my smart phone so that the listing agent would know that I was there. I left a card on the counter, previewed the home and locked up. My attire on that day did not alter my professionalism. There is something to be said for those who are convinced that dressing for success is the ONLY way to experience success as a real estate professional. Granted, there are times when professional attire is always expected, such as at a closing. The nature of our job means that there may be times that we are coming back from one of our kid’s baseball games or school activities and we receive a call from a client to see a home. There may not be time to get cleaned up and get to the client.

Letting a client know that you are coming from somewhere else is usually the best way to mitigate any questions about your level of professionalism on the front end. Clients may be more willing to overlook the t-shirt and athletic shorts you may be wearing when you have given them advanced warning.

New clients will appreciate your quick response to see a property and are probably more focused on the home they are looking at than what you look like. Just make sure you keep some smell good spray in the car at all times, because smelling bad will be something that they will never forget.

What makes us professional is our ability to be professional regardless of the clothes we may be wearing. We are all bound by the rules of professionalism regardless of how we are dressed or where we have just come from. This particular exchange reminded me of the fact that you can take a Realtor out of their professional clothes, but you can never take the professional out of the Realtor.

 

Real Estate, Rinse, Repeat

Throughout the course of my day I am bombarded with information and tips about how to grow and improve my real estate business. I have signed up for newsletters, monthly reports and received a variety of other handy tips that are aimed at helping me achieve greater success as a real estate agent. There seems to be a constant barrage of ideas and suggestions for the newest and latest thing that will set us apart from the throngs of others who are in search of success. 

What I find interesting is that there is nothing new in these tidbits that I read. Aside from updates about new apps that may be on the market I find most of what I come across to be repetitive and quite honestly, a little pedantic. I have personally spent many hours delving in to the intricacies of social media and how to best use these avenues to help keep me connected to my present, past or future customers. I can day that I am a big fan of using social media for this purpose. I view these outlets as primarily supportive in nature. I mean that my social media is a way for me to keep connected with those who I have already made meaning full contact with.

Within the pages of the marketing tips I have received is always a call to network and grow my sphere of influence. This is good old fashioned real estate sales at its best. There are many ways to do this and getting out in front of people has proven to be the most successful way to generate new customers or referrals. These marketing materials have also implored me to make sure that I answer my phone when it rings. I laughed at this because any serious real estate agent knows to do this and those who regularly break this first commandment of real estate and are not my competition. Have a plan for overcoming objections. Got it. Be ethical. Create strong marketing materials such as business cards and lawn signs so that you are advertising at every turn. Got it. You get the idea of where I am going with this right?

While there are those who may think that creating a 300 part series on “implementation of systematic marketing for the long term” is a great idea, I did not. I am not sure what that even meant, so I passed on that free PDF. The realization that I had was information and ideas have their place in any field of work. While there are many new and exciting ways to practice the art of selling real estate there is no substitute for being a hard worker, reliable, honest and ready to share the information and qualities that matter most to our customers. This list may include rather simple things such as how to properly fill in a contract, how to communicate in a friendly way and how not to seem like a cheesy sales person. Spending time with clients and understanding that each customer is as unique as the thousands of properties found in the MLS on any given day is the key to success in real estate, or in any other field for that matter.

There comes a time when information overload, especially if repetitive, can distract us from the central purpose of connecting with people and working with them to achieve their real estate goals. Not a single client has ever asked me about my marketing plan or if I have read any good articles lately about using social media to grow my business. I assume whatever I am have in place is working because I am face to face with a potential customer. However, I have noticed that they all ask about how the market is doing or about the home buying process or what their home is worth. Being able to answer these questions correctly is the best marketing plan I have come across. There is no better feeling that when my phone rings and a referral from a happy home buyer or seller is on the other end of the line. 

Realtor, Baker, Candlestick Maker

I was recently asked by a fellow new agent to write a job description for a real estate sales associate. At first I thought that they were joking. They were not. This conversation was sparked by their last experience with a seller. This had been a marathon process for them, even though the deal from start to finish took less than a month. My inquiry as to why they wanted me to do this was met with a sigh and I could sense an obvious frustration with whatever had happened during this deal.

I did not ask for any specifics because I did not want to be influenced by the details of their experience as I tried to objectively create an accurate representation of what we do as Realtors. I began with the obvious roles such as creating listing presentations, listing homes, negotiating deals, showing homes, marketing properties and researching market prices by compiling CMA’s. These were easy to nail down as they are usually what people think of when they call an agent. We deal with real estate and every aspect of the home sale process. Communicating with lenders, title companies and outside vendors for the purposes of inspections also made the list.

Suddenly, I had a flood of other job related functions swim across my brain. I considered the lesser known jobs that a Realtor often must undertake throughout the process. These had to do with how to handle objections, deal with wishy washy or uninformed buyers, difficult sellers and the art of educating people about the real estate process. Working with people in real estate is more than filling out paperwork and arranging showings. As I thought about these things, I realized that the vast majority of the things I do on a daily basis are very similar to what a therapist, teacher, cheerleader or life coach might do all in a day’s work.

Real estate sales is a service industry and that presents the need for a certain amount of intimacy when dealing with clients. Whether we realize it or not, we are key players for major decisions in the lives of those who seek our services out. The first time home buyer is often very afraid and overwhelmed by the process of buying a home. A significant amount of my time spent with this group is focused on easing their fears and creating a very supportive relationship. These first time buyers are especially needy at times and requires that I act not only in a real estate capacity but also as a source of emotional support as they maneuver through the mental ups and down of the process. Some agents may despise this part of the job but I find it to be the most rewarding part of what I do.

Yes, we are in the business of selling real estate. That is the end goal. This goal is impossible unless we come face to face with people, many many different types of people at that. The ability to work well with a variety of personalities is something that every person who interacts with the public must deal with during their day. After I had finished compiling my very informal list for my fellow agent, I followed up. This particular deal was only the third transaction they had. The first two had been for investors and quite easy. The third was with a first time home buyer. After the closing, they felt emotionally drained and like they had been in a month long therapy session with this particular buyer. This was not something that they were prepared for and wondered if this was normal.

I offered my reassurance and they seemed relieved. The psychology of working with customers in the real estate capacity is not covered in the pre or post licensing. Being prepared for the scope of this job is key to being a successful agent. I shared a bit of advice that I received from a seasoned Realtor when I first began.

“Filling out paperwork is easy. Dealing with people is not. Remember that and it will change your approach to both.”

This simple bit of advice prepared me for a life in real estate. It reminds me that the most important job related function I have is to also support the people who are interested in buying or selling properties. Making an honest effort to help these individuals work through their fears, worries, or confusion about the process is what will help cement your status as “Realtor for Life” in their eyes.

Photos Bomb

Each week I make a point of checking out the newest listings in my area. I do this for two reasons. First, it is important that I keep up on what the pace of my local market is I check and see what is selling, how quickly properties are selling and what the listing to sales price ratios are. This helps me to know how to best price my newest listings and to be able to give an accurate answer to any who may ask me about how is the market doing while I am out an about in the community. The second reason I do this is so that I can inform the buyers that I am working with about any new properties that have come on the market. The time that I spend at the computer searching the MLS is one of my favorite ways to get ahead of the curve in my own business.

I look at hundreds of properties in the MLS in a week. The ability to get property information as it pertains to square footage, location and price, I am also able to view the photos included in the listings. This is my least favorite part of this process. I personally use a professional photographer when I have a new listing. The first thing most potential home buyers do is look at the images. During their home search this step is often where they form a first impression about whether or not they are interested. I have had many buyers tell me that they did not want to look at a property because it looked small or dark from the photos. I usually convince them to just take a look and then decide. I have been in homes that truly looked nothing like the images that were included in the listing.

I cannot impress upon those of us who sell real estate for a living the importance of good photographs. I have read articles in the various real estate publications, read blogs and have even seen advertisements which support my position. Even after all of this prodding and informing I wonder why I still see such terrible images in listings. I am a bit of a stickler about this. Images that are poor quality and improperly composed drive me crazy. I get it, we all have camera phones and believe that we can save a few dollars by taking our own photos.

The listing is the first way that a property is marketed and it is often the most important. Hiring a professional is the best way to ensure that your property stands out among the crowd. I would guess that near 60% of the listings I view each week have terrible pictures. The photographer I use charges by the hour and is very reasonable. I am talking about basic photos of interiors, exteriors, community features or other unique details of a property. I do not need aerial photos or complicated panoramic shots to appear in the MLS. I usually spend around a hundred dollars per listing for the photos. On a high end property it may run upwards of two hundred dollars depending on the size of the property and how long it takes to shoot it. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the commission I may earn if the home sells. This is an expense that should be included in the cost of doing business. Ral estate photography is well worth the expense.Yvette Waters Photography

We all want to get any advantage that we can in a very competitive housing market. By understanding that people look with their eyes first when it comes to buying a home, we would all be wise to consider the impact that bad images can have on our bottom lines. When people are not able to get a good impression from the pictures they see they have a greater chance on missing out on what may be their next dream home. No more photo bombs please! If you live in the Orlando or Central Florida area and are in need of photographs, click here to view the website of the photographer that I use.

Social Media and Real Estate Marketing

For the past few years I have consulted with many marketing pros about how to best use social media to promote my real estate business. Without fail, the first thing each of them have suggested is maximizing social media. This is a great idea. I have looked at each of them and shook my head in agreement. Of course social media is necessary. As a motivated agent, I have implemented many aspects of social media in to my business plan.

I attended a workshop given by Realtor.com many years ago at the onset of the social media explosion. I remember this because it was the first time I was excited by the potential and how simple it seemed to do. At the time, it was simple. The “like” button was just introduced.

Facebook was explained as a cocktail party. Those who were using updates to bombard followers were like that annoying person who kept on coming up to everyone and saying the same thing. This analogy was tremendously helpful and I learned the importance of using Facebook wisely in that moment.

I have profiles on the majority of sites and have a pretty good understanding of how these can benefit my bottom line. I have found that these avenues are superb for building a network and staying in touch with not only my sphere of influence, but also prospects. I have also found social media to be invaluable in providing information to potential buyers and sellers.

One aspect I did not fully appreciate was the ability social media has to help my branding, in other words, me. By avoiding being that obnoxious party guest I have had great success in communicating my personality on social media. You can be God’s gift to real estate, but if you are abrasive, annoying or obnoxious in how you present yourself to the public things may not go as planned.

By reposting things that let my friends, family and prospects know who I am, I am reaping the rewards. I have a business page as well as my personal page. I have found that I get more leads from my personal page than my business page. For my business page, I strictly post real estate related items and an occasional deep motivational quote along with how to get in touch with me. If I have new listings I will post photos and an occasional video as well if the property warrants it.

Much to my surprise, I am contacted more frequently by those who view my personal page. As Realtors, we are not only in the business of buying and selling homes, we are in the customer service business. We want people to contact us when they have a real estate need. If we are able to express who we are as individuals, whether funny or serious, those customers will feel a connection with us and be more apt to reach out to us.

By posting small details about what happens to be going on with my family, humor only, and by keeping my status posts positive I am confident that when I direct new potential customers to my Facebook page that they will not go running in the opposite direction.

There are a plethora of other social media sites out there. I am still amazed by how social media has changed the face of real estate in such a short time. It is a very powerful tool in the Realtor toolbox. Growing comfortable with and trying new things is a challenge for those of us who may be tech resistant. It can seem overwhelming to maintain a presence on social media. Do it anyway!

Many companies now hire full time positions to handle social media only. I have found that I prefer some of them over others. I have had good experiences so far with Pinterest and Instagram. I use Twitter and Linkedin less often but remain active on both. It is not enough to just have an account. By taking the time to understand the platform, benefits and purpose of each of the social media outlets we are able to decide which ones best fit our own personal models.

 

Choosing a Brokerage

Which Brokerage is Best?

When I became a full time Realtor, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about whether or not I would choose a larger, national real estate brokerage over a smaller, independent one. While their overall function is similar, I found that the business models varied significantly from one another.

As a real estate agent, I am in a constant state of evaluating the state of my business. Do I need more listings? Am I spending wisely on effective marketing?  Could I be doing more to improve my bottom line? Of course the answer is always yes to each of these questions.

My suspicion is that each of us who have made real estate our line of work are also ruminate on these questions as well quite frequently. These line items can take up quite a bit of mind space, especially in the slow times.

During those slow times, that we all experience from time to time, I have to admit that on a few occasions I wondered if I had made the right decision. It was then that I would reach out to fellow agents who hung their licenses with the larger brokerages to check in to see if they were slow as well.

Without fail, I would be encouraged by the fact that my fellow agents would validate my belief that a lull in the market or inventory was the cause and not a result of being with a small brokerage.

Among the things I considered in my choice of broker were initial cost, commission structure, flexibility, training opportunities and overall feel of the office. I interviewed quite a few brokers before I ultimately made the decision to go with a smaller, locally based broker who was well known in the area. A few years have since passed and I have realized that this decision was the best for me.

The first day that I went into the office I was offered the opportunity to take over seven short sales that he had on his plate. He literally handed me the files, gave me background, told me what stage they were at and what needed to be done. It was my introduction to real estate agency or as we later joked trial by lenders.

Some may have said no way, but I accepted the challenge after many, many moons had passed I closed all but one of them in the end. Looking back, I am grateful for this opportunity. This could have easily resulted in the shortest career in the history of real estate. These were by no means fun to handle, at all. I learned more by doing these than I could have learned sitting for hours in training seminars.

I have found equal evidence on both sides when it comes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of working with an independent broker. Personally, my decision to sign with a smaller “outfit”, as one of my charming elderly customers once called us, has been perfect for me. It has been an education and forced me to seek out training not only from my broker, but from other avenues that I may not have had access to had I gone with a big brokerage. It has also pushed me to become very resourceful and creative in marketing my business.

I have had numerous opportunities to spend one on one time with my broker and have enjoyed very quick response times when I have needed guidance when one of the many possible odd issues have popped up with contracts, inspections or closings. Our entire office has a team mentality, which means we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and competitors. It is a great environment given our individual personalities and interests and it works.

 

Figuring out the kind of brokerage that best fits an agent can be a daunting task. If agents are able to spend time understanding the environments that they naturally feel most comfortable in they will certainly be set up for success. I was lucky, I discovered which was best suited to me on the first shot out of the barrel. I know that as I prepare to take the broker’s exam in a few months that my experiences will definitely be valuable when I create my own brokerage in the future.

The Business of Real Estate

This past week, I found myself imagining what the future will look like when I obtain a broker’s license. For the past few months I have been studying for the brokers test. I have always been told by my mentors that one of the most sure fire ways to success is to use positive mental imagery to help create the future you envision for yourself.

I know, it is very “The Secret”, only not really. It has been proven, time and again, that those who approach new endeavors with confidence and resolve are more likely to see those goals reached, in whatever the field may be. Being resolute with intention is definitely a good practice even if you just need the motivation to go to the grocery store.

In my experience, resolve and determination paired with tenacity and the ability to never give up are keys to success in life, especially if you have chosen a life in real estate.  My mini mental vacation took place in between the highly exciting legal descriptions chapter and the always informational taxing real estate investment chapter.

I imagined my modern and minimalist industrial office space that overlooked the bustling city. I envisioned the line of agents lining up at my door step to be a part of the hip and exciting brokerage that I created. You get the idea. The silliness of this is not lost on me, but it works.

As a result, I found myself researching domain names for my future company. I came up with a few that have real potential and of course I am keeping those under my hat for now. In researching my options I came across many “helpful” sites. One of which was more like a message board than an informational site. What I found here stopped me cold in my tracks and is the motivation behind writing this blog post.

Right before my eyes was an entire board filled with real estate professionals who were asking others to help them come up with a name for their real estate business. Yes. You read that correctly. Do people really do this? According to some, namely my wife, I am a bit of a control freak.

The notion that there are some who seek out counsel from strangers online about naming a business is shocking to me. This concept would never even float across my consciousness. In fact, this would be found underneath the four millionth thing on my list of things to do in life.

Once I shook off the shock of it, I realized that if I were a customer looking for a broker that knowing they were unable to name their own business would probably send me running in the opposite direction. Customers want confidence and creativity in the professionals that they choose to work with. I would have serious questions about their effectiveness and drive. I may be simplistic and a little too wavy gravy in my approach, but to each their own.

Obtaining a broker’s license is something that any licensed agent can decide to do. Some will pass the test, others will not. For those who do pass the test, the road to success will be dependent upon their ability to run an office, recruit quality agents and a million other things on any given day.

I venture to guess those whose pleas for help in naming their brokerage may not be the ones who blaze trails in this industry. In my humble opinion, whether you are in real estate or selling bananas at the local farmers market, your brand is something that only you can truly decide on.

I tend to be more philosophical than most and I believe that an important part of the beginning stages of creating something new is being able get inspired and that the right name will present itself when the time is right.

The real estate business brings just as many rewards as it does challenges. My hope is that we all remember that approaching any challenge is worth every bit of time and energy that it requires and that the potential for reward is infinite. When we are allow ourselves to imagine our futures we will find all of the answers we need. Oh, and closings, many many closings.

Realtors Survey Says…and the number one answer is trust.

If you are like me, the start of a new year is a great time to take stock of the things that worked the previous year and to make adjustments for the coming year. Evaluating the annual budget for our businesses is a large part of what we do on a daily basis. Allocating dollars for marketing and advertising is one of the most critical activities that needs to happen in order to chart a path to success. It is true that 20% of the agents do perform 80% of the work in our industry. Of course, the business end of the spectrum is what many often focus on. Expanding our network and contact list is key to guaranteeing ongoing success in this line of work.

As Realtors, the importance of how we manage our business is one part of the whole puzzle. Recently I created an informal survey that asked what qualities buyers and sellers found to be the most important in choosing their agent. Surprisingly enough, not one response had to do how they marketed, budgeted or long term planned their business.

 

Dawn Waters Debary Realtor

I found overall that the most important thing that buyers and sellers considered in choosing their agent was trustworthiness. This is not something that appear in any business plan that I know of. As agents, we are not only selling properties, we are selling ourselves. The ability to convey trustworthiness is directly related to how we deal with not only buyers and sellers, but with the other professionals that we interact with. I believe that our customers, regardless of which side of the transaction they may be on, are like children. They are sponges that get a sense of how we do business by watching and listening to how we speak and the amount of confidence that we show in our ability to get the deal closed.

Having an honesty first policy is something that has been key to my success as an agent. This approach is often overlooked when evaluating what should be first on an agent’s to do list. There is much to be said for implementing this practice in all things. I was surprised that things such as knowledge of the area, negotiating skills and the ability to accurately reach a listing price were mentioned after honesty in my informal survey. I believe that being found to be trustworthy and honest played a role in whether or not customers expressed confidence in the other areas.

When we pause and reflect on the things that make past clients more prone to refer their family and friends to us, we are reminded of the intangible qualities that our customers are most likely focused on. Remembering the simple things and occasionally looking at things from the customer’s vantage point is an activity that I highly recommend. When Realtors practice the art of trustworthiness we benefit on all levels. On a business level, aa Realtors ability to be honest with their own marketing plan is just as vital to our success and presenting that honesty in our dealings with the public. Staying focused on these things keeps us honest and reminds us that our success is based on more than a marketing plan or our advertising budgets.

DO THE EVOLUTION- Real Estate Technology in 2015

It seems like every year there are many new tech based applications that are created with the goal of enhancing, improving or streamlining the work flow of a real estate agent. With every passing issue of the many Realtor publications I receive I find more and more great tools available for helping agents manage the many facets of their business. Products range from high end CRM’s such as Top Producer aimed at agents to simple apps that can be shared with clients. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available resources. One of the best new lists of the 10 ten technologies out there can be found here.

Taking the time to sort through the variety of options is the first step in determining whether or not a particular tool is going to help propel your business forward. Every agent or brokerage has similar goals, but the way in which they reach those goals is often very different. Some may rely on customer focused information based apps. For those working with buyers the focus is often on current and helpful information about the properties available and managing communication throughout the search process. They are also quite fond of financing centered tools that will help them get in front of the lending process and become informed about interest rates, credit scores or the variety of loan options available.

Additionally, marketing and managing listings is perhaps one element of real estate technology that each agent knows is crucial to success. Agents who best manage the marketing and promotion of their listed properties in the cyber world will see those efforts convert to sales. This is the obvious choice for high volume listing agents and their brokers. Properties are our products and getting available properties exposed to the greatest number of potential buyers is job one. By using traditional and innovative avenues to advertise properties agent are best able to convert leads to listings to sales.

advancement-of-technologyWorking with customers is a key aspect of using and making technology fit in to the plan, however I would argue that for most agent the value that is found in technology which caters to managing the business end is often overlooked or underutilized. The ability to manage mileage, appointments, follow up, social media posts and blogs is something that every agent should consider when deciding which technologies would be suit their purposes. The use of lead generating technology is something that I feel is somewhat less important to me personally. Getting out in to communities and farm areas is the best way to generate leads. I have found that most, not all, of the lead generating tech that I have used to be the least effective way to spend my marketing budget.

There are those who are bent on having the newest and greatest gadgets and technology as they are introduced. This is not always a bad thing, but caution is warranted with this approach. Final decisions about what technology should make it into the real estate tool box should only be made after spending time carefully testing, weighing alternative options and evaluating each individual choice.

There can be little argument that the practice of real estate has changed leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades. Agents should strike a balance between tech overload and complete resistance to new ways of succeeding. By combining all of these elements, and using the most up to date real estate technology, real estate agents can forge a clear path to success and longevity in the business. The trick for maximizing the return on whichever technology is implemented requires constantly evaluation the things that best support the overall business goals. Keep what works and leave the rest. The goal of technology in real estate should always aim to help make things a little easier and more efficient, not to overwhelm and confuse.

LONG STRANGE TRIP

As a Realtor, I am fortunate enough to meet many diverse people on a daily basis. Between networking with potential customers and keeping up with past clients there is never a shortage of interesting people. I have been working with out of town customers for almost two years now as they search for the perfect Florida home for their family. Working with this family has become somewhat of an adventure. We have had the good fortune to find some amazing properties together, however none have panned out up to this point. There have been many opportunities but for some reason not all of the stars have aligned for them to this point.
The Monastery
They are not cookie cutter kind of people. From our first phone conversation I knew that these buyers were not representative of the typical kind of buyer that we all work with on most days. From the start, I knew that they were looking for something unique, and in Florida, aka the land of subdivisions and HOA’s, that this was going to be a challenge. They wanted acreage, a workshop, a pool and something that they could put their own stamp on. Together we have toured a vacant monastery, complete with bell tower and a chapel that was missing portions of the roof. Initially they considered opening, renovating and operating a bed and breakfast property that could also double as a residence for their family.

Given that these clients are from up north, they have had to make special trips down when they have had time to get away. We have built a relationship over the past two years and at this point I pretty much know what they want and do not want. Last summer, we put a contract on their perfect home, however there were issues with the financing given that it was a VA loan. We named this one the EPCOT house as it was a custom home built in the 1980’s and literally looked like something from Future World. This broke both of our hearts for many reasons. Even now, this home is still the measuring stick for what their new home should feel like. Throughout this search I have always reminded them that when the time and place were right that things would fall in place and become a reality.

EPCOT

To date this has not happened. Each go around we have made more progress toward the goal of homeownership for them in Florida. As a Realtor, I often hear complaints from other agents about working long and hard and not having a commission check to show for it. I have also been told that some agents have dropped clients because on paper they were losing money in the end because the time spent with them had not yielded a pay day. I suppose I could be one of these agents. I am not. I am honored and rewarded by the fact that these clients have chosen to stick with me this whole time. My business model has always had loyalty and hard work as its top priority. Sure, it has taken some time to find them something that feels like home and fits their needs, but all good things take time.

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On their last trip down a couple of weeks ago they wanted to tour a home about 90 miles from my main area. A home that was dome shaped and a peachy flesh color. We agreed to refer to it as “The Boob” home. It seriously looked like a boob. We all got a middle school chuckle from this property for sure. Did I mention that these clients are perhaps one of my favorites of all time? They felt awful about my having to drive so far to show them this home. They even gave me the opportunity to refer them to a new agent given that their latest round of unique properties were out of the immediate area. They let me know that they wanted to continue working with me, but understood if it would be too far for that to happen. Their consideration is something that I truly appreciated. Of course, I let them know that I would be happy to work with them. When you invest time in high quality and kind buyers, you have no problem going the extra mile, literally, to show them homes.

At this point I am just as invested in seeing this happen for them as they are. I love a challenge. Weeding through properties trying to find that one unique home out there that was meant for them is high on my list of things to do. The lesson that I have learned with these particular buyers is that selling homes for a living is much more than paperwork and commission checks. Realtors work with humans, with wish lists, and questions about schools and inspections. We console disappointed buyers when contracts are not accepted or banks change things and financing hits a wall.

Our need for patience with the deals that may take years to complete is something that cannot be stressed enough. Our job depends on our ability to remain as loyal to our long term clients as are with us. I have had more fun with these buyers over the course of the past two years than any other to date. It hardly seems like work given the relationship we have built while we waded through muddy fields, laughed at odd floor plans and discovered really awful record collections in dilapidated workshops with no electrical wiring. Working with this particular family has been a long strange trip indeed and I am certain when their buying journey is over that my compensation will include not only a commission check but things that money cannot measure.